In an apparent effort to boost app discoverability and engagement, it looks like Google is rolling out a beautiful new layout for "apps" search results on mobile. Doing a quick search for pretty much anything followed by the word "apps" will get you a grid of app results above the normal search results, each block colored according to the app's icon. Clicking the "expand" button opens up the grid, with more results smoothly flowing in. Check it out in motion below.
Worth noting is that these results seem to only appear on Android for now - the download numbers and ratings of course reflect Play Store stats, and each block will take you to the relevant Play Store listing.
Yesterday, we published an article asking an open question: what is up with T-Mobile band 12 support being removed from some unlocked smartphones?
Today, T-Mobile contacted us to speak about said article. Unfortunately, T-Mobile was unwilling to provide any official on-record responses to our questions. But after a short discussion, I can provide you some information I have learned on background (journalist speak for "cannot be directly quoted or attributed to anyone"). First:
On T-Mobile, any device on its network with band 12 LTE data support must also support T-Mobile Voice over LTE services and E911.
The E911 part isn't particularly important in terms of the certification requirement - all phones sold in America are technically E911 compliant, because by law they have to be.
One of the biggest challenges to creating good apps for Android Auto has been actually testing the experience. Many independent developers can't afford to purchase brand new cars with Auto built-in, and aftermarket head units won't fit in most recently manufactured cars without heavy modification, and most of those units aren't very good anyway. When the Auto SDK came out, it included simulators that could be used for basic testing of just the messaging and media browser interfaces, but even these weren't good substitutes for the real thing. Today, Google released the Android Auto Desktop Head Unit, a functioning implementation of the Android Auto platform that runs right on a desktop or laptop.
A dedicated app typically provides a better experience than a mobile site, but there are still plenty of instances where we end up inside the Android version of Chrome. Heck, that's one of the major benefits of owning a smartphone—the entire web is accessible to you throughout most of the day.
If you've been using Android for long enough, you might remember the days when the only swiping keyboard in existence was Swype, and you had to sign up for a weird private beta program to use it. Well, it's been in the Play Store for a few years now, and it's getting a big v2.0 update today. It's going where no man has gone before.
We're entering into an era where you no longer have to spend more than a few hundred dollars on a good, usable smartphone. Manufacturers like Blu have done a lot for the budget smartphone, and more mainstream phone makers like Motorola have brought the words "budget" and "flagship" together in a way we didn't think would ever be possible.
I've been messing with a new affordable device from a relatively new manufacturer to the scene here lately: the Nuu Z8. Nuu currently has a couple of other budget devices on the market, but the Z8 is what the company is calling its flagship device.
Instagram has a reputation. It's true. Whether it's the users who constantly snap pictures of their food or the ubiquitous use of filters, something immediately comes to mind when someone mentions the social network. One major aspect of its identity, for better or worse, is about to disappear. Instagram will no longer exclusively support square imagery.
That's right, ladies and gentlemen, Instagram is finally acknowledging that cameras don't take pictures in squares. Yes, cropping is a thing, but good cropping is also part of taking a decent shot in the first place. It can be a pain to have to crop things down again.
The touchscreen issues that plagued the OnePlus One are well known at this point, but what about the OnePlus 2? This device is still trickling out to the illustrious recipients of invites, and it appears to have a different grounding issue. Rather than affecting the screen, this one affects the capacitive home button. Maybe I'm holding it wrong?
The new Moto X is set to come out in a week or two, but the 2014 model is still a fine device. It's even more fine if you can get one for a mere $180, as you can today on eBay. This is the Verizon model of the phone (XT1096), but that means it's unlocked and should work fine on GSM carriers.